Most diet books these days start out with the instructions to avoid brand-name foods and processed products. However, health and nutrition guru Dave Zinczenko recognizes that we don't always have time to concoct meals and snacks from scratch. In an exclusive interview on Jan. 7, David talked with me about his new approach to weight loss that includes brand-name foods.
"Seventy percent of our calories now come from processed foods," revealed David. Therefore, telling dieters to avoid them isn't realistic. Instead, he's created a new type of diet book that explains which processed foods are the weight loss winners: "Eat It to Beat It!: Banish Belly Fat-and Take Back Your Health-While Eating the Brand-Name Foods You Love" (click for details)
His goal: Help you understand what to choose "so you can indulge and lose weight. Supermarkets and restaurants, even fast-food restaurants, are filled with foods that can help you control your weight and fight disease."
So in a nutshell, says David, you've got a "cheat sheet for surviving, and thriving, in the modern American diet" by taking advantage of his knowledge in "Eat It to Beat It!: Banish Belly Fat-and Take Back Your Health-While Eating the Brand-Name Foods You Love!"
And David admits to some surprises, both tasty and yucky, when he was conducting his research. For example:
- There are a number of salads--salads!--that contain more than a days worth of calories. It's a shame when food marketers trick people into ordering something that sounds healthy, but is actually harming them. I'm out to put an end to that.
- Wendy's offers a junior cheeseburger that's so low in calories and sodium it's practically a health food.
- Kashi makes a chocolate chip cookie with twice as much fiber as whole wheat bread.
And a note about vegetarian and vegan diets: Beware of assuming that you'll automatically shed pounds. David offers this advice on using plant-based diets for weight loss:
"If you want to commit to a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle, my advice is to get as close to the original source of food as possible. Sugar and oils are vegetarian, so many foods made for vegetarians are loaded with them, and that's why it can be hard to lose weight when you go veggie."
In addition to providing tips on what to eat and avoid, David explores the fact that some foods contain very scary ingredients.
"Many packaged or pre-made foods that sound vegetarian are in fact made with animal products, everything from pigs feet to beetle bellies. That's why Eat It to Beat It! offers a cheat sheet that explains what mystery ingredients are--and why "natural flavors" often come from the most creepy parts of an animal's anatomy," he adds.
As for David's own favorite things: "I love all of the same foods, restaurants, and snacks as anyone else out there - maybe even more so. However, no matter what the meal or snack, I seek out the single-best source of it possible. So, when I get a brownie craving, I know to turn to Vitalicious Vitabrownie Deep & Velvety Chocolate, because Eat It to Beat It! is about having your brownie and eating it too (and not feeling one ounce of regret in doing so)!"